13 April, 2019 - Cistercians reunite at Cîteaux, 'Mater Nostra'



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An aerial view of Cîteaux. Closest to the fore is the definitory in need of repair. Click to enlarge.



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Left to right: the area of the monastery where the current monks reside, the library and the definitory. Click to enlarge.


In 1098, a small band of Benedictine monks arrived at Cîteaux hoping to live out the Rule of St. Benedict in all its purity. From their efforts in a then-remote part of France stemmed a global religious order of Cistercians, the legacy of which is now found in the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, the Order of Cistercians, as well as other institutes such as the Bernardines.

More than 900 years later, Gethsemani's Dom Elias joined other superiors from various members of the Cistercian family at Cîteaux - the mother of all Cistercian motherhouses - from April 9 to April 13.



The goal of the meeting was to discuss various restoration projects being considered at 'mater nostra' (our mother), in particular the renovation of the ancient definitory (originally used for planning the Order's General Chapter) and the erecting of a chapel on the site of the monastery's rather tiny original church.

Our Lady of Cîteaux is still a functioning monastery of monks in the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, but the extensive historical repairs would exceed their community's resources. As central to the patrimony of the entire Cistercian family, the restorations offer an exciting opportunity for collaboration amongst our brothers and sisters worldwide.


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The site of the original chapel of Our Lady of Cîteaux. Click to enlarge.


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A view of the rather delapidated definitory seen through the arch of the restored library. Click to enlarge.